Anxiety and Relationship in Uncertain Times

Uncertainty seems to be in our faces these days...

May 5, 2020

Uncertainty seems to be in our faces these days. Will we or someone we know get sick? What will happen to the economy? How long will this go on?

There’s no escaping uncertainty, of course; but sometimes it’s easier to ignore than it is today. In other times it seems easy to focus on what we think is certain.

What’s interesting is how we dance with uncertainty; how we respond to it, choose to hate it or embrace it. Right now, many people are responding to uncertainty with anxiety. You can hear that anxiety in the instructions we get from our children, who really don’t want us to catch this virus. In the face of uncertainty, their love for us shows up as anxiety.

While uncertainty is inescapable, and anxiety – like all fears – is normal, the anxiety seems to ease its grip a bit when we talk about it in relationship. Have you noticed that?

How much control do we have over what’s going to happen? Probably less than we often think we have.

But when we look toward the future together, rather than separately, we see that there is something we can do to produce a modicum of certainty. We can make,  accept and fulfill promises. For example, we two have promised each other that we’ll be together: whatever happens, our lives are joined. We have put the certainty of “we are together” into an unpredictable, uncertain future.

There are promises in every enduring relationship: big promises and small promises. Promises create a future that wasn’t going to happen anyway. That is happening in our own neighborhood in Maryland.

Close neighbors have offered to get us anything we might need – and that has warmed our hearts. We hear these offers as evidence that our relationships go beyond mere proximity.  We care about each other!  Our “thank you” acknowledges the offer as a promise, creating a future  in which we can rely on each other.

One neighbor offered to be of service to anyone in our neighborhood! Our sense of connection to a caring community has deepened. Our community has a stronger foundation, promises of caring for each other during the uncertain times ahead.

What can you do to experience deeper connections during this time of physical isolation?  And if you do, what is the possible new future you will create?

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